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Excess Sugar Causes Brain Shrinkage, Says Study

People who develop type 2 diabetes face many hurdles in the years that follow a diagnosis.

Heart problems, nerve damage, vision problems,Brain and, in some cases, blindness. Now, a University of Pennsylvania study shows that type 2 diabetes can also shrink the brain as a person ages.

It’s been well documented that diabetics have an increased risk for stroke and dementia, which doctors attributed to blood vessel damage that occurs when a person has diabetes. However, the study, published in the journal Radiology, found that people with diabetes experienced a loss in brain volume, particularly in the gray matter, or the area of the brain involved in muscle control, seeing, hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making, and self-control.

And the longer a person had diabetes, the greater the brain shrinkage.

According to the study’s lead researcher, the brain shrinkage is linked to how sugar is used by the brain. For every 10 years a person has diabetes, the brain looked to be about two years old than the brain of someone without the disease, says the study.

The researchers noted that it isn’t known if treating diabetes can prevent or slow shrinkage of the brain. The study examined the brains of 614 type 2 diabetics, using MRI scams, who had diabetes for an average of 10 years.

Could you have diabetes or prediabetes? Get tested and find out for sure if you’re developing a serious chronic disease.

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